The Workshop discussed in some detail the different types of supporting services required for aquaculture development in the region. In view of the fact that the bulk of production will be on a small scale, the importance of such services becomes specially significant.
As discussed earlier, effective extension services are of the highest priority. The backbone of such services is the extension worker who needs special training in extension techniques, besides adequate training and practical experience in aquaculture techniques.
Some of the countries have tried to utilize agricultural extension personnel for aqua-culture extension work, but the experience so far indicates that specialized staff at an appropriate level are essential if aquaculture has to be developed rapidly.
Certain countries have established specialized training programmes for extension staff, but these programmes need strengthening. In countries where training facilities do not exist, new training centres have to be created. Taking into account the educational background and language proficiency of the candidates to be trained and the specific local conditions in which they have to work, it was considered essential to organize the training of extension personnel on a national basis.
The discussions in the Workshop clearly showed that so far inadequate attention has been devoted to the current and future manpower requirements of the industry. Assessment of the needs of trained manpower of different categories is an essential step in development planning. This would show whether ad hoc or permanent training facilities have to be provided in the country, and whether group country or regional training programmes are required. The Workshop noted that there are as yet no suitably staffed and equipped training centres in the region offering specialized multidisciplinary training in all aspects of aquaculture. Besides facilities for theoretical instruction, such a centre will have to provide adequate opportunities for the trainees to carry out practical farming operations in order to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience for initiating and managing aquaculture enterprises. The establishment of such centres is expensive and the hiring of suitable training staff on a national basis may prove extremely difficult. In the circumstances there is a need to consider the establishment of subregional or regional training facilities offering a well rounded specialized training in aquaculture. There are many obvious advantages in organizing such a training programme in conjunction with a research centre.
The role of research in aquaculture development has received considerable attention in the region and almost all the countries have fish culture research stations. However, many of the stations are poorly equipped and inadequately staffed with the result that they function primarily as demonstration or seed production centres. Through streamlining the many diffuse efforts, strengthening of facilities and the adoption of realistic research programmes, scientific support for aquaculture development can be substantially improved. A "systems approach" in research directed toward the solution of all the inter-dependent problems hindering increased aquaculture production would more effectively serve the needs of the industry.
The provision of necessary inputs in adequate quantities at appropriate times is an essential requisite for expanded aquaculture. Among the many inputs, highest priority was given to seed as mentioned on page 3. The need to develop seed production as a separate auxiliary industry in the public or private sector was repeatedly emphasized by the Workshop. Fish feed is another input which needs special attention. The existing animal feed industry can possibly cater to the needs of aquaculture if suitable feed formulations can be recommended and the necessary incentives to compensate for the small initial demand can be offered. If simple feed preparation techniques can be adopted, it should be possible to develop the industry also on a cottage-industry basis.
As regards other inputs like fertilizer and chemicals, when internal supplies in a country are inadequate, it may often be necessary for the government to allocate the necessary quantities for the needs of aquaculture. In the initial stages governments should also provide incentives to develop the manufacture of various types of equipment required in aquaculture installations.